As recently as 2006, Timor-Leste was in crisis. Only a few years into independence, the country was torn by riots and political turmoil. Not surprisingly, its business climate was one of the…

Christopher Bleakley |

Students at Beijing Bayi High School in China. Photo: World Bank In 1950, the average working-age person in the world had  almost three years of education, but in East Asia and Pacific (EAP), the…

Michael Crawford |

Kazakhstan. Photo: Kubat Sydykov / World Bank How large is the share of public procurement to GDP in middle-income and low-income countries and how it is evolving? If sizable, can public…

Simeon Djankov, Federica Saliola, Asif Islam |

Corruption in the public sector is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon. It can take on a myriad of forms and come to light in various areas.  It ranges from petty corruption among government…

Franck Bessette |

It may not be surprising that the number one country in the world with the most Youtube users is Saudi Arabia. But what is surprising, with Youtube’s overall global viewership predominantly male,…

Maha El-Swais |

One thousand years ago, the famous Arab scientist and mathematician Al-Hazen moved from Basra to Cairo to take up a new job in a neighborhood near Al-Azhar University. At the time, the Middle East…

Joulan Abdul Khalek |

Known as the “Pearl of Arabia“ for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the Sultanate of Oman is also striving to adopt economic reforms that are in accordance with global market…

Dr. Salim Sultan Al-Ruzaiqi |

From August 2002, just months after Timor-Leste gained independence, to April 2006, I was the World Bank’s Country Manager for Timor-Leste and thus eyewitness to an unfolding state-building…

Elisabeth Huybens |

What makes smart politicians?  Jeffrey Frankel has an idea.   His recent blog examines the allure, and trap, of universal subsidies.   For one thing, they know that pulling the plug on bad…

Heba Elgazzar |

Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are becoming more of a priority for policymakers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Seen as the driving force of many MENA economies, they help…

Rachel Lipson |